MeeGo lives: a first look at the Sailfish OS

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

Maemo, MeeGo and now Sailfish. The mobile operating system that refuses to die is back in the spotlight. In fact, it's looking better than ever.

The Linux-based system first created by Nokia is again seeing the light of day, with new owner Jolla now ready to show the fruits of its labour. Unlike most zombies, the system, now going by the name Sailfish, is looking fresh and smart, and has a few nice, new features.

The core user experience of the system remains strongly reminiscent of MeeGo, with recently used apps, which the Jolla team now refers to as "covers", displayed as large tiles on the home screen. Swipe up from the bottom to see all installed applications, or swipe across the covers to displays options for that particular app.

Most interesting is a feature that the Jolla team calls "pulleys". If you swipe down from the top of the screen — the same gesture used on Android and iOS to reveal notifications — the system displays a list of context-sensitive menu options. In the photo gallery, it shows sharing options, for example. From the lock screen, it has shortcuts to commonly used apps.

The future for the Sailfish OS is still a mystery, but Verge reported that the Jolla team has the support of ST-Ericsson for incorporating the system onto chips, and we've heard for a long time that some of the big-name OEMs are looking for a viable option to Android to make sure that they are not at the mercy of Google. Sailfish could be that alternative.

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